Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Special Guest Speaker: Melody Sharp, Web Designer, Developer and Wordpress Guru

"Become an expert in something" - Melody Sharp
Today our class was very honored to host Melody Sharp, a local web developer and designer and wordpress guru. Melody discussed her career and educational path with our class and how she entered into web development and became an expert in wordpress. Melody has a Masters Degree in comparative lit, worked in the magazine industry, marketing and authored a book about her experiences working in the male dominated magazine industry culture titled "Getting On Top, What Management Won't Tell You When Your Not One Of The Boys".  Melody has been studying web development and design for 15 years and founded a local wordpress meet up. Melody shared her insight and knowledge of web design, working with clients and how to keep skills current in an industry that is ever changing. You can see more of Melody's work at her website, Our class extends a big thank you to Melody Sharp for sharing her time, insight, experiences and advice with us. Thank you Melody!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Web Design Reverse Learning Project

Hello Students,
In this project you will research, write and guide the class through a learning exercise. Use the internet to research a specific topic or activity or use your own knowledge as a base for creating an engaging exercise. Follow the guidelines for writing interesting lessons below and be ready to present to the class. You can use movies, powerpoint presentations, hand outs or online resources to enhance your activity.

Web Design Reverse Learning Project:
Use all resources available to write and develop an fun exercise or activity that can be taught to the class in about 10 minutes or so. Follow the structure laid out below to format your lesson. Teach the class a skill that is useful and relevant to using computers, creating digital media, using the internet or other related IT skills, techniques or concepts.

Getting Started:

  • Think of something you would like to teach to the class, must be related to web design, digital media, IT, internet or digital literacy skills
  • Use the internet to research and gather resources, assets and information
  • Use presentation software like powerpoint to create a presentation or use work to create hand outs, you could even use a video to help deliver your information or to engage the audience
  • Follow the structure laid out below to create a compelling activity, a good lesson will have a hook to get the audiences attention peaked, information should be presented well and there should be some kind of hands on activity.
  • Be ready to present and teach the class
How to write a good lesson for instruction:
Follow the outline below to create your lesson or project, try to have something for each section detailed in your presentation. Use my model lesson as a guide if you need more clarification.

Objectives and Goals: State the objective or learning outcome for your project. What do you expect people to be able to do when your lesson or activity is complete

Hook or Anticipatory Set: Use something to engage the audience and get their brains primed for learning. This could be an interesting image or even a video or a prop. It should be relevant to the material you are covering in your lesson

Lecture or Present: Talk about the material in your lesson or activity, provide some background information or history that is relevant. Discuss or present details about the material. A few bullet points or slides and images are all that is needed to frame the activity

Hands On Activity / Guided Practice or Independent Practice: Have a hands on activity for the class to engage in, or an independent practice activity for students to put their new knowledge to work

Model Lesson: How To Customize The Icon Of Your USB Flash Memory Thumbdrive:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Experimenting with Visual Marker Recognition Systems

Visual Marker Recognition Systems:
Today in rop web design students learned how to use a visual marker recognition system to make music with's drum machine and sequencer programs. D-touch is a visual marker recognition system that enables the development of low-cost tangible user interfaces and mixed reality applications. d-touch supports markers that are both machine-readable and visually communicative to humans. This website is the home to the d-touch system and some projects related to it.

ROP Web Design students make music with a web cam and a visual marker system

Monday, May 13, 2013

Researching and Networking Local Talent

Hello Students,
Your next assignment is to research web designers and developers that live in Santa Cruz County. Developing skills in networking is essential to future opportunities beyond school and college. After researching your designer you will contact them and ask them to visit our class as a guest speaker or to participate in an informational interview. Hopefully we will have a good number of willing participants to visit our class.

Networking is a valuable skill, it can give you insights into different industries and open job opportunities that may not have been available to you.

Researching and Networking Project:
  • Use the internet to find and research 2 local web designers, developers or IT specialists. You can use google to refine your search. You could even try looking in the phone book. Look up their website, portfolio or even if they have an office location in town. They could be web designers, coders, IT specialists, engineers, developers, product developers etc. Take time doing the research and find someone who's work interests you
  • List the persons name, website and links to any work they have done as a post on your blog
  • Contact them via email or telephone, refer to the script below as a guide to introduce yourself and ask questions, above all be professional. 
  • If they can't make a public appearance, ask them if they would be willing to give an informational interview either on the phone or via email. Type up the results of your interview and post to your blog.
  • We want to know how they got their training, what is their education, how long have they been working, who are their clients and how do they find new clients, how do they keep their skills current?
  • If you are conducting an informational interview, here are some more questions you can ask
Introduction Script:
Dear _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
My name is (your name here) and I am a web design student in the Regional Occupational Program at Santa Cruz High School. I am researching local web designers and IT experts as part of a class assignment. I really like your work and would like to ask if you would be interested in being a guest speaker in my web design class. Our class meets M-F from 9:45 to 11:15 AM, just let us know what date would be best. If you are unable to make an appearance than I would like to conduct an informational interview with you either through email or on the phone if possible. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
                                              - Sincerely
                                                 (Your Name Here)
                                                 (Your Email Address Here)
                                                  Santa Cruz High School Graphic Design Student